Junior partners tread carefully..

With Taoiseach Bertie Ahern trading trans-continental insults with the leaders of Fine Gael and the Labour Party his junior partners in government have been getting jumpy. The PD’s Noel Grealish might have thought he was doing the Taoiseach a favour by criticising the Mahon Tribunal – and, after all, he was just repeating what Ahern had said himself – but the Mahon Tribunal is the departmental responsibility of another junior partner, and the Green Party’s John Gormley, as Minister for the Environment, has stated that “he believes the Government has total confidence in it.” Meanwhile other government ministers are complaining of “cheap political shots” and Noel Grealish’s only party colleague in the Dáil, Health Minister Mary Harney, has added that she has full confidence in the Mahon Tribunal.

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  • JD

    This is more about Grealish proving his Fianna Fail credentials in light of the imminent disbandment of the PDs. It is a public secret at this stage that Harney will remain as an “independent” at the cabnet when the PDs wind up and Grealish’s PD organisation in Galway will defect to Fianna Fail.

    There is a definite difference between Fianna Fail and the Greens opening up about confidence in the tribunal. Fianna Fail ministers have changed tack in recent months from “let the tribunal report” to attacking it as “Biased” as it exposes Bertie Ahern’s threadbare excuses as to how tens of thousands of euro came into his possession in the 1990s. He wasn’t Charlie Haughey’s protegie for nothing…

    No Fianna Fail minister wants be seen weilding the knife against Bertie, but should the Greens make clear they can no longer tolerate Fianna Fail’s attack on the tribunal to defend Bertie, either Brian Cowen will rally to Bertie losing the Greens or knifing Bertie to keep the Greens on board.